Sixteen wildlife photographers were honored by the African Wildlife Foundation during the 60th anniversary celebrations at the National Museum of Kenya last week. The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards received nearly 9,000 submissions from 50 countries worldwide, including 10 countries in Africa.
The Grand Prize Winner, Riccardo Marchegiani, from Italy, received a cash prize of Sh 555,476 for his ‘Gelada and Baby’ photo taken in the Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia.
The photographer is also featured in an interview with Nature’s Best Photography magazine and in a special issue for the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards.
Other category winners each received USD 1,000 (Sh111,095) and a Shona elephant sculpture and will also be featured in the Nature’s Best Photography special edition.
Among them James Lewin from Kenya, who was celebrated in the category “Coexistence and Conflict” for the photo “Elephant Orphans from Reteti Elephant Sanctuary” at the Painted Rock in Samburu; Buddhilini de Soyza from Australia for the category photo “Cheetahs swim across the Talek River” in the category African Wildlife Behavior, taken in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Other winners were Ingrid Vekemans from Belgium for the photo in the “Wildlife at Risk” category, which was taken in the “White Rhinoceros Battle” in the Solio Game Reserve; Olli Teirilla from Finland for his video in the “Africa in Motion” category, “Magical Maasai Mara”, which was filmed in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
The first photo competition was launched earlier this year to honor former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa for his role as an iconic conservationist and one of the longest serving board members of the AWF.
“The growing need to hear more African voices from all disciplines on wildlife and wild countries on a global scale was recognized. These young voices are actively developing practical solutions that keep pace with technological advances, and we must not ignore them, ”said Tourism and Wildlife CS, Najib Balala.